DeSantis refuses to say with whom he sides in Trump-Pence rift

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday dodged a question on whether former Vice President Mike Pence could have moved to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election during the congressional certification of the results.

Former President Trump has repeatedly asserted that Pence had the authority to toss out the election results. Pence, however, sharply rebuked that idea, saying at a Federalist Society event in Florida on Friday that it is “un-American” to think that one person could overturn the will of the voters.

“There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election,'” Pence said.

“President Trump is wrong,” he continued. “I had no right to overturn the election.”

Asked on Monday about where he stands on the issue, DeSantis declined to weigh in. 

“I’m not. I …” DeSantis said, according to NBC News. After being pressed on the question by reporters, the Florida governor abruptly changed topics, saying that he had a “great working relationship” with the Trump administration. 

The question of whether a vice president has the authority to toss out certified election results from the state has emerged as a delicate, if not outright uncomfortable, issue for many Republicans.

On one hand, the U.S. Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 do not explicitly give the vice president the power to do so. Nevertheless, Trump remains the most influential Republican in the country, and breaking with him over the matter carries political risks. Trump has repeatedly vowed to campaign against GOP politicians who do not go along with his baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. 

DeSantis, in particular, is in a difficult position. He’s up for reelection this year and is seen as a potential contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. 

Speculation about his future political ambitions has also irked Trump, who has teased another bid for the White House and has privately complained about DeSantis’s refusal to say that he won’t run for president in 2024 if the former president mounts another campaign.

Despite Trump’s private grumbling and the occasional veiled swipe at DeSantis, both men have insisted that they have a good relationship. DeSantis has said that he’s focused only on his responsibilities as governor and running for reelection this year, calling speculation about a potential 2024 campaign “nonsense.”

Tags 2020 election 2024 election Donald Trump Electoral Count Act Mike Pence Ron DeSantis

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